Tiger Woods Is Very Angry About Golf Digest’s Very Fake Satirical ‘Interview’ With Him

November 18, 2014 by  
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Tiger Woods likes to think he has a good sense of humor. Woods likes to think he is willing to laugh at himself. With an angry rebuke of Golf Digest for a piece of satire in its latest issue, he may have ensured that no one else will think either of those things.

Incensed by a piece entitled “My (Fake) Interview With Tiger,” by award-winning sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins, that appears in the magazine’s December issue, Woods vented on The Players’ Tribune, a website founded by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter to give athletes a forum for communicating directly with fans.

Most things in the media you let slide, but sometimes you can’t and shouldn’t. Read my @PlayersTribune piece http://t.co/u0511anhGJ

— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) November 18, 2014

Woods slammed the satirical imagined conversation as a “grudge-fueled piece of character assassination” and questioned the integrity of Jenkins, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, and the magazine. Jenkins, 84, has been a longtime critic of Woods, according to ESPN.

“Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?” Woods asked in his lengthy takedown of the piece titled “Not True, Not Funny.”

In an apparent attempt to have some fun at the expense of the 14-time major winner, Jenkins’ fictitious chat touched on Woods’ off-course controversies and his history of working with — and firing — various coaches. Woods made it very clear that he did not approve of the faux interview format and took offense to the content of the story.

“I like to think I have a good sense of humor, and that I’m more than willing to laugh at myself. In this game, you have to. I’ve been playing golf for a long time, 20 years on the PGA Tour. I’ve given lots of interviews to journalists in all that time, more than I could count, and some have been good and some not so much. All athletes know that we will be under scrutiny from the media,” Woods wrote. “But this concocted article was below the belt. Good-natured satire is one thing, but no fair-minded writer would put someone in the position of having to publicly deny that he mistreats his friends, takes pleasure in firing people, and stiffs on tips — and a lot of other slurs, too.”

Golf Digest defended the piece and its presentation in a statement issued to For The Win:

The Q&A is clearly labeled as “fake,” both on our cover and in the headline. The article stands on its own.

Jenkins seemed to take the controversy in stride. He may have even gotten an idea for his next column out of it:

My next column for Tiger: defining parody and satire. I thought I let him off easy: http://t.co/E7e9imSKwO

— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) November 18, 2014

Woods’ attack on the piece likely brought it far more attention than it would have otherwise received. This did not go unnoticed by ESPN’s Rick Reilly:

Hey @TigerWoods, please hate my book next!

— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) November 18, 2014


Jamie Horowitz Fired From NBC Only 10 Weeks Into His Role Overseeing The ‘Today’ Show

November 17, 2014 by  
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Well, that was quick.

Only 10 weeks into his role at NBC supervising the “Today” show, television executive Jamie Horowitz has been fired by the network.

NBC News president Deborah Turness broke the news to employees on Monday night.

She had announced Horowitz’s hiring earlier this year. He joined NBC News as “SVP and General Manager of the TODAY brand” according to Turness’ original memo.

Horowitz, a former ESPN executive, was brought on board to help “Today” reclaim the top morning spot from ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The Hollywood Reporter claims that he and Turness butted heads during his brief tenure. Sources told The New York Daily News that Horowitz “ran afoul of internal politics and clashed with established executives and talent at the show — who did not like his ideas.”

Deadline reports that Horowitz hadn’t “technically” even hit his start date yet:

NBC had announced in May that Horowitz would start December 1, overseeing all four hours of the weekday show and the 30 Rock concert series, as NBC News struggles to regain Today’s ratings foothold. According to one insider, that official start date was still on the books so, technically, Horowitz was let go before he started, which has to be some sort of record. In reality, he’d been at the offices about 10 weeks.

The full text of Turness’ Monday memo to employees can be read below:

Dear All:

I want to let you know that, effective today, Jamie Horowitz will be leaving NBC News.

Jamie joined us in September as General Manager of the TODAY brand. He’s a talented producer and executive, but, together, he and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right fit.

Because of the hard work of so many of you, and an anchor team that is hitting on all cylinders, the show has great momentum and is closing the ratings gap. The exclusives keep coming and there is a great energy both on- and off-air, and in digital and social. My focus – as always – is to support this special brand and its amazing and dedicated staff, and to position it for continued success.

The role of General Manager remains an important one, and will be filled in due course. In the interim, I will work closely with both Don Nash and Jen Brown to oversee TODAY.

Please join me in thanking Jamie and wishing him the best.



WATCH: Amazing Story of a Church’s 2,000-Mile Journey

November 16, 2014 by  
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A really odd thing once happened to my journalism. And then, equally oddly or more so, it happened again.

I never really had anything like a real specialty as a reporter or as a TV producer – “Generalist!” was my proud boast. But suddenly back in the early 1980s I was unaccountably put in charge of network programs (for Britain’s commercial television service, ITV) that concentrated entirely on religion and ethics.

I say unaccountably because I had no serious background in religion – and, I thought, very little interest in it either.

Ethics were a different matter – they were viscerally fascinating to me (as evidenced nowadays, maybe, by how journalistic ethics have featured in THE MEDIA BEAT throughout its ten-year existence). Matters of faith and denomination, though, left me at that time pretty unmoved. But nevertheless … religion, even organized religion – which I had airily dismissed as irrelevant, in the often typical fashion of my 1960′s generation – unexpectedly grabbed my attention with great power and drama.

It turned out to be a hot time, journalistically. My teams and I got to cover a new Pope who was charismatic, Polish, and shot in the stomach – by a Turkish would-be assassin … a fundamentalist Ayatollah who took over Iran, with all that this came to mean for the rest of the world, especially for the country he called “The Great Satan” … and even in quiet old Britain, we covered the nation’s established church undergoing fresh paroxysms about the role of women and about homosexuality. And there was more, much more … from crazy exorcists to towering human embodiments of compassion and moral leadership.

Thus I came to enjoy one of the most rewarding periods of my working life – surrounded by some of the best journalists I have ever been with.

Life moved on of course, with other realms of interest opening up – not least my work in the developing world, Africa especially. And later (after I moved to the US) came a decade or more spent within the curious universe of the United Nations, both in its New York HQ and its many missions around the globe.

And then, that odd repetition.

I now find myself as a correspondent and producer with American television’s major forum for … guess what? … religion and ethics. Aired by the PBS network every week, it goes by the matter-of-fact (indeed you might say plodding, but definitely accurate) title of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

It’s likely that most of my efforts on this show concentrate on ethics more than formal religion … but even so, the world of churches, mosques and temples does often force its way onto my sometimes world-weary journalistic agenda. And sometimes – as occurs this week – it can even be an occasion for sheer delight.

Watch the video – at: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2014/11/14/november-14-2014-church-relocation/24594/

In this report, broadcast over the weekend (times vary in different areas), we tell a remarkable tale about a historic, in fact 200-year old, wooden Anglican church in Nova Scotia that recently outlived its usefulness and was sold off … to, of all people, a Southern Baptist congregation in Louisiana that needed a new church building.

Even more remarkably, the entire church was dismantled – by an ace team of heritage woodworkers – and then piled onto an enormous Mack tractor-trailer, and driven the 2,000-plus miles to reach the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. There it is now being reassembled by volunteer Baptist labor, under that same timber-expert guidance from Nova Scotia.

The story says much about two very different societal developments – declining religiosity in Canada intersecting with the entirely US phenomenon of surging church membership among southern evangelicals.

But it’s also, quite simply, that journalistic gem – a striking instance of unexpected human endeavor, in this case yoked together with touching respect for history. And it has the extra virtue (for a TV guy) of deeply engaging and contrasting locations. That’s not to mention a telling comparison between styles of music – the somber Anglican hymnal versus rousing jazz-influenced rhythms from the Baptists.

Oh, and in addition – but this is not going to count as any kind of journalistic specialization – my personal appetite for carpentry was greatly fed by learning a huge amount that I would never have known about early nineteenth century mortise-and-tenon joints.


Read more of David Tereshchuk’s media industry insights at his regular online column, The Media Beat at its new site. The Media Beat podcasts are always available on demand from Connecticut’s NPR station WHDD, and at iTunes.

How Defectors Sneak News Out Of North Korea

November 16, 2014 by  
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Video secretly taken in North Korea shows public executions by firing squad. The country is said to begin a currency revaluation that turns disastrous. Leader Kim Jong Un is reported to have thrown South Korean leaflets containing rumors about his wife in his aides’ faces.

Two of those stories are true. The third, who knows? All came from people in North Korea, through networks of defectors determined to get out information on the authoritarian, highly insular country they left behind. Their words and images are snapped up with enthusiasm, and often credulously, by South Korean and international media desperate for news from the poorly understood country. The sources may not be particularly well informed: They could be ruling-party officials or factory workers. Or smugglers, professors or soldiers.

Generally, they are in it for the money, not a desire to force change in their homeland, according to the defectors they communicate with.

Whatever their motives, the risks they face are the same. Defectors say the firing-squad and currency stories came from sources now dead because of their work.

The North inspires fervent curiosity and global headlines thanks largely to its tight control on information, its dogged pursuit of long-range nuclear weapons and its widely condemned record on human rights.

For outsiders it can be a breeding ground for groundless rumors, as it was recently during nearly six weeks in which Kim Jong Un stayed out of the public eye. After rumors ranging from a coup to gout brought on but a cheese addiction, he emerged limping but still clearly in power.

Leading defectors’ organizations say they are not responsible for many of the most sensational rumors, which could come from South Korean officials, businessmen doing business with the North or someone else. But that doesn’t mean the defectors are always right, either.

In the months after the North’s December 2013 execution of Jang Song Thaek — an uncle of Kim Jong Un who had been widely regarded as the country’s No. 2 official — a defector’s organization reported on its website that another top official, Choe Ryong Hae, had been detained for unclear reasons. Those reports, cited by many news outlets, appeared doubtful days later when state TV aired photos of Choe accompanying Kim on an inspection trip.

Kim Seong-Min, a well-known defector who heads the organization involved, Free North Korea Radio, said he now believes Choe was least investigated, if not detained. There have been varying reports about Choe’s political fortunes, but on Friday, state media reported that he will soon travel to Russia as Kim Jong Un’s special envoy.

Kim Seong-Min is unperturbed as long as the information helps expose North Korean wrongdoing. And he has worked to help North Koreans bolster their reports by smuggling in illegal cellphones and camcorders for them.

“There are lots of stories about North Korea, and I think all of them are good as long as they don’t praise that country,” Kim said in a recent interview. “I think they will help people understand the North’s dictatorship.”

Stories about top North Korean officials often have the murkiest sourcing.

Another defector in Kim Seong-Min’s group said it was a North Korean military official who told him about Kim Jong Un’s angry rant over leaflets South Korean activists sent to the North by balloons. The leaflets criticized the leader’s father and grandfather and made allegations about his wife’s sexual behavior before they married.

The defector said the official had not witnessed Kim Jong Un’s tirade but talked to a colleague who said he did. The defector requested anonymity due to worries about safety of relatives in North Korea.

Most of the defectors’ groups in Seoul specializing in sneaking news out of North Korea have no more than 10 North Korean sources. They regularly call their South Korean contacts at dawn or late at night, when North Korean security officials are less likely to be out with mobile equipment to detect cellphone signals.

Defectors’ organizations say they don’t tell their sources exactly who they are or how their information will be used, so the sources will more freely share information and will face less danger. The organizations usually release no details about a source except the province he or she reported from.

“They’d face espionage charges if they’re arrested” and owned up to a connection with an anti-Pyongyang organization in South Korea, said Kim Heung Kwang, a North Korean defector who heads the North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity organization. “I just tell them I’m writing something and need some information.”

His organization got a legitimate big scoop about the North, one of the few reports by defectors’ groups to be independently confirmed: the news of the country’s botched currency revaluation in 2009. South Korean officials confirmed the details days later.

Defectors say their sources often include their own relatives, friends and acquaintances. In return for information, they often get cash or gifts.

Kim Heung Kwang says he gives $50 to $100 to ordinary sources when they give him useful information, with more money for “ace” informants. He says he sent about $3,000 to both of the sources who told him about the currency reform as a special bonus. South Korea’s central bank estimates North Korea’s gross national income per capita last year at about 1.4 million won ($1,320).

“They definitely do it for the money,” Kim Seong-Min acknowledges. He says his group gives gifts, usually electronic products, to his sources because of a cash shortage.

Son Jung-hun, a defector and human rights activist who communicates with North Koreans in border towns, said they sometimes demand up to 2 million won ($1,840) for information, but he does not pay them. He said he is trying to monitor life on the border, not publish information. He also said he doubts that his contacts have information about specific news events, or even would understand what sort of information would interest the outside world.

Ahn Kyung-su, a North Korea researcher at a Seoul-based nongovernmental organization, says he suspects that sources are mostly ordinary citizens who pick up rumors circulated in North Korean border markets. That can be useful in getting a picture of life in many North Korean communities, but much less so when it comes to high-level government decisions.

Ahn pointed out that defectors’ organizations missed a big story that thousands of ordinary Pyongyang residents had to have known about: the collapse of a 23-story apartment building in the capital that North Korean state media ended up being the first to report, five days after it happened on May 13.

Defectors “were lucky to catch the currency reform,” Ahn said. “By looking at the high-rise collapse, we can say that they have no truly reliable sources” in Pyongyang.

Defectors’ organizations respond to criticism by saying they are not trying to be journalists, but are simply trying to expose the North’s abysmal human rights conditions.

When they do produce accurate information, the sources sometimes suffer for it.

Kim Seong-Min said an army major who sent him the video clips of public executions was arrested and executed in 2008. North Korean authorities identified him after spotting his motorcycle repeatedly in the footage.

“I felt wretched. I was speechless,” Kim said.

Kim Heung Kwang says one of his two sources who obtained the information about the currency reform was arrested in 2012 while returning home after conducting a mission to meet and tape a former South Korean soldier held in the country. The source, a local official, eventually died during interrogation.

“She didn’t launch a revolt but only informed us about what was happening in North Korea. There was no reason to kill her,” Kim Heung Kwang said. “My resolve to fight and overthrow the dictatorial regime was strengthened.”

Bill Cosby’s ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ Appearance Canceled

November 15, 2014 by  
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According to Newsday, Bill Cosby’s Nov. 19 appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman” has been canceled. No reason was given for the schedule change, but Regis Philbin will replace Cosby on the broadcast.

A representative for CBS declined to comment when contacted by The Huffington Post (the network does not publicly discuss its booking process). Cosby’s representatives did not return repeated requests for comment; this post will be updated if and when a response is received.

This marks Cosby’s second canceled booking in the last two weeks, as he dropped out of “The Queen Latifah Show” on Oct. 30. That move came a week after stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress called Cosby “a rapist” on stage in a bit that soon went viral. A spokesperson for “The Queen Latifah Show” told The Hollywood Reporter, “Mr. Cosby’s scheduled appearance on The Queen Latifah Show was postponed at his request and was in no way related to any of our recent or upcoming scheduled guests.”

This week, the Internet turned its attention back to Cosby after his team posted a meme generator on his website. The widget was taken down after users uploaded messages that highlighted allegations of rape and sexual abuse brought against the comedian over the last decade.

In addition, Barbara Bowman, one of the women who has alleged Cosby sexually assaulted her, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post on Thursday recounting encounters with the now 77-year-old comic. She told HuffPost Live in a separate interview that her experiences with Cosby were “sexual encounters that were not consensual on any level.”

Cosby was never criminally charged in Bowman’s case or any other. In 2006, he settled a civil suit with one of the women.

Company Boss Sits Inside Armored Mercedes As It’s Shot With AK-47

November 14, 2014 by  
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Here’s a guy who will not only stand behind his company’s product, he’ll also sit behind it — while being shot at by an AK-47.

R. Trent Kimball, CEO of Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC), got behind the wheel of a Mercedes that had been armored by his company. Then, sales manager Lawrence Kosub opened fire.

On his boss.

As you can see in the clip above, Kimball sat behind the wheel as a dozen bullets hit the glass. He was so still, the company released an uncut clip of him getting into the car, sitting down and getting shot at to prove he wasn’t replaced by a mannequin.

“When it comes to assuring our clients’ safety, we take product testing very seriously,” Kimball says in the clip.

TAC also released a 240fps slow-mo version of the clip:

Before the first clip, the company posted two screens of warnings to discourage copycats.

“Never point or shoot a firearm at a person or vehicle,” the warning reads in part. “Never let someone point or shoot a firearm at you.”

TAC has reinforced vehicles for the Pope, rapper T.I., Steven Seagal and oil executives in West Africa, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

“That was friggin amazin,” Kimball says at the end of the clip, while inspecting the damage. “It could’ve taken a lot more.”

Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist Peter Greste Could Be Released Before End Of Sentence

November 13, 2014 by  
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Jailed al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste could be returned to Australia before the end of his prison sentence in Egypt, after the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, issued a decree allowing the deportation of foreigners accused of crimes on Egyptian soil.

The decree, issued on Wednesday, stated that at the request of government prosecutors, and with the approval of cabinet, the president “may agree to deliver the defendants and transfer the sentenced to their own countries, either for their trial or the execution of their sentence”.


Bruce Springsteen & Dave Grohl’s Cover Of ‘Fortunate Son’ Draws Criticism

November 12, 2014 by  
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Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Zac Brown and a few more high-profile artists took the stage at the “Concert for Valor” in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Springsteen and Grohl joined Brown during his set, and the trio laid down a contentious cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.”

A counterculture anti-war anthem, which includes lyrics like “ain’t no military son,” didn’t resonate with everyone during the Veteran’s Day celebration. Stating that the concert wasn’t “the place for it,” the Weekly Standard wrote: “It was a particularly terrible choice given that ‘Fortunate Son’ is, moreover, an anti-draft song, and this concert was largely organized to honor those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Plenty of viewers also took to Twitter to share their confusion and disapproval.

But as the Washington Post pointed out, Springsteen also performed his classic hit, “Born in the U.S.A.” One read through the lyrics and it is clear that this “American anthem” is a writhing critique of the Vietnam War.

Watch a fan-shot clip of their “Fortunate Son” cover:


Ebola PR, Global News and Social Media

November 11, 2014 by  
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When Ebola comes to your town, it may translate into positive or negative news and social media sentiment. We have had two patients treated and released from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), and Omaha is learning lessons about what works.

Two public relations spokespersons answered questions about Ebola media relations at a PRSA Nebraska luncheon last week.

Taylor Wilson, Nebraska Medicine PR, and Phil Rooney, Douglas County Health Department resource specialist, explained how Omaha’s bio-containment unit, one of only four in the U.S., placed the community in the spotlight of “intense media.”

Wilson said that PR people were proactive in the release of information, as the U.S. Department of State asked for help in treating two patients at the Biocontainment Patient Care Unit.

UNMC had been preparing since 2005, and the PR department created website content in advance. In August, UNMC began monitoring conversation as “social media started to light up,” Wilson said.

“You had the people who were not as informed as others, so we took that opportunity to really jump on those (Facebook and Twitter) pages… and put out the factual information about the disease,” Wilson said. “We wanted to make sure our voice was in the conversation… making sure the tin foil hat wearers weren’t the majority.”

At one moment, investors were “a vocal minority on social media” wanting to know which drug was being used. “In this age, social media gets that information out there more quickly than you can ever account for it, so instead of trying to hold information back, we were as forthcoming as we could possibly be,” Wilson said. The exception was withholding information about the experimental drug used on the first of two patients treated in Omaha. A confidentiality agreement had been signed, Wilson said.

Wilson added that the U.S. Department of State delayed release of some information on the transport of patients to Omaha. Some talk show hosts “like to stir the pot a little bit,” and Wilson made calls into shows to counter with accurate information.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Phil Rooney said. “We also had Hootsuite up monitoring everything that was going on… What we found was, if there was information out there, it generally self-corrected itself on Twitter, for the most part.”

“One of the challenges is, you’re dealing with reporters who I think are generally bright people, well intended, but they don’t deal with science every day,” Rooney said.

The department recently shared on Facebook the CDC’s four levels of risk in evaluating international travelers and noted that the updated information was “good to have for the holidays.”

The health department maintains an “Ebola Information Line” (purposely not called a “hotline”) to field non-emergency telephone calls, and its website page emphasizes how the disease is spread:

The virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with blood and body fluids (urine, feces, saliva, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects (like needles) that have been contaminated with the virus. Ebola is not spread through the air or by water or, in general, by food; however, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.

UNMC maintains an online newsroom, and it regularly offers Ebola updates.

Early in the coverage of the first patient, UNMC added a Ustream, built a contact list of 300 to send information to all interested media, and offered regular updates “feeding the beast,” Wilson said. “Early on, we hardly could feed them enough.”

In contrast to the situation in Dallas, public opinion in Omaha was primed for listening and understanding. Perhaps the secret to calming fears is to get out in front of “false Ebola alarms.”

In remaining proactive on the story, for example, Omaha nurses were interviewed after news broke that a Dallas nurse had tested positive.

Ebola offered dramatic storytelling opportunities, and this filled newspaper front pages, talk radio conversation and television news.

The volume of Ebola talk shut out other important issues. As we learned last week, the drum beat of Ebola media coverage may have so dominated the news agenda that voters went to the polls with it rather than the economy or other positive news on their minds.

Too often, news media and social media chatter turn to fear mongering instead of dispassionate reporting of facts. Ebola offered “red meat” for sensational journalists, talk show hosts and social media opinion leaders.

Reader’s Digest Will Now Pay You For Your Clever Tweets

November 10, 2014 by  
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Reader’s Digest will now pay you for your clever, 140-character musings — $25 to be exact.

After the magazine printed a tweet from comedian Dan Wilbur without his permission, this past September, the stand-up wrote Reader’s Digest a lengthy email, chastising the publication for neither notifying him that the tweet was to be used, nor compensating him for his work.

“The LEAST you could do is give a shoutout to any of the writers you used via your Twitter account,” Wilbur wrote. “The NEXT-TO-LEAST you could do is tell me you’re using a joke, send me a check for $25, and ask how I’d like to be credited. The MOST you could do is call my mom and tell her you think I ‘really got something good going with this comedy thing!’ (I’d take this over the others if you’re able to do it.)”

Wilbur wasn’t expecting to get a response, but, three days later, Reader’s Digest wrote an apology, claiming that his email had “spawned a pretty heavy meeting that included editors, rights department, research department, lawyers, and a spilled cup of Starbucks.”

Shortly thereafter, a check for $25 arrived in the mail:

The magazine confirmed the photo with The Huffington Post in an email on Monday, adding that it will in fact begin paying writers for their tweets.

“Reader’s Digest has a long tradition of curating and paying for anecdotes and jokes,” Reader’s Digest public relations manager Paulette Cohen said. “Dan Wilbur’s letter prompted us to begin classifying tweets in that same category, so we will now pay writers for tweets that we reprint in the magazine, as well as retweet them. We hope even more writers and comedians will send us their jokes in the future.”

For those of you who want to see what the Reader’s Digest joke was, it’s this totally topical gem: pic.twitter.com/iPy0XCTHv0

— Dan Wilbur (@DanWilbur) November 7, 2014


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